Dallas wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Dallas wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, May 7th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 9th
Game 3: Saturday, May 13th
Game 4: Monday, May 15th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 17th
Game 6: Friday, May 19th
Game 7: Monday, May 22nd

Spurs 91

(63-19, 29-12 away)

Mavericks 86

(60-22, 34-7 home)

    8:30 PM ET, May 19, 2006

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 20 21 26 2491
    DAL 25 22 20 1986

    Top Performers

    SA: M. Ginobili 30 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 26 Pts, 21 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Spurs beat up Mavs to force Game 7

    DALLAS (AP) -- Michael Finley heard cries of traitor and whiner. Every time he touched the ball, people who used to adore him were booing as loudly as possible.

    Things should be a lot more pleasant during Game 7 in San Antonio.

    Finley hit back against the Mavericks and their fans in the best way possible, going from absorbing the low blow that got Dallas' Jason Terry suspended to hitting the go-ahead basket in the Spurs' 91-86 victory Friday night -- and forcing a winner-take-all finish to a series that certainly deserves to end that way.

    "It's not a personal vendetta for me," said Finley, who spent the previous nine seasons helping transform the Mavs from lottery mainstays to perennial contenders. He was released last summer under the NBA's one-time amnesty clause and is still getting paid $14.6 million this season by Dallas.

    "Now that they start booing me, it makes me focus a lot more," he said. "I know now that I am the enemy and I just go out and play harder."

    Manu Ginobili scored 30 points, Tim Duncan persevered through foul trouble to score 24 and Finley added 16, helping offset a 3-for-15, eight-point outing by Tony Parker.

    The Spurs also made all 15 of their second-half free throws, something they rarely do, to put themselves in position to become only the ninth team to overcome a 3-1 deficit.

    A common thread between six of the teams that have pulled it off: Game 7 was at home, just like it will be for San Antonio.

    "We're at home so everybody thinks we're going to win, but it's not automatic," Ginobili said.

    Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 26 points, 21 rebounds and five assists. Everyone else struggled, especially the two guys counted on most to replace Terry -- Devin Harris and Jerry Stackhouse.

    Harris went 3-for-14, not making a basket until late in the third quarter. San Antonio dared him to shoot in the fourth and he went 2-of-8.

    Stackhouse took Terry's place in the starting lineup and went 4-for-15. He was 3-for-4 in the first quarter, then a miserable 1-for-11.

    Dallas shot just 39 percent after being over 50 percent the last two games.

    "We really had a chance at winning this game and playing well, but we just couldn't get it in the basket," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "We'll get back to practice Sunday, strap it up and get ready to go back to San Antonio."

    Having blown their second straight chance of reaching the conference finals, the Mavs' only solace is that they'll get back Terry, their second-leading scorer.

    Terry was suspended for punching Finley between his legs during a loose-ball scramble in the closing seconds of Game 5. He joined the team at an afternoon shootaround, but had to watch the game at home.

    Terry wasn't forgotten. Fans in the entire front row around the court all wore his blue road jersey, the equipment manager wore one of his sweatbands and there were dozens of signs of support -- as well as crude ones about Finley. Among the printable ones: "Public Enemy No. 4," referencing his jersey number.

    "Jet being back should be a big lift," Stackhouse said. "Even though we'll be on the road, still we've got to force the tempo. We were able to do that in Game 2."

    That was the only game this series decided by more than five points. All the rest have come down to the end, befitting a clash between 60-win teams.

    And, now, there's a two-day wait for the decider.

    "You just flip a coin and whichever way it lands that's the team that'll probably win that night," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

    Said Dallas' Johnson: "We love the challenge. We don't have any fear."

    Ginobili scored 17 points in the first half. None of his teammates had more than eight, yet the Spurs were down by only six points.

    "Manu carried us through the entire game," Duncan said. "In the first half he's the one who kept us alive."

    The game was tied going into the fourth quarter. San Antonio pulled it out with plays on both ends of the court -- and Finley involved in all of them.

    He broke a tie at 82 with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:45 left and Nowitzki running at him.

    Finley also defended Nowitzki on a missed 3-pointer that could've tied it with 6.9 seconds left. The off-balanced shot landed well short. Parker got the rebound, was fouled and hit both shots, sealing the Spurs' second straight salvation of their title defense.

    Josh Howard scored 17 points and Keith Van Horn, in his first extended action since breaking his right hand March 31, scored 10.

    Dallas controlled the game for three quarters. San Antonio's biggest lead to that point was 2-0. Every time the Spurs went ahead, the Mavericks regained the lead on their next possession.

    But Dallas was sloppy at the start of the fourth quarter. San Antonio was, too, but not as bad, and took its biggest lead yet at 74-71 on a three-point play by Duncan.

    The Mavericks got three straight baskets to go ahead 81-80 with 3:37 left, forcing the Spurs to call a timeout with an arena-record of 20,986 going bonkers. Parker answered with his first basket since the first quarter.

    Dallas seemed to catch a break when Duncan got his fifth foul immediately after. But Harris made only one of two free throws and Finley answered with his 3.

    Nowitzki, Howard and Stackhouse scored all 25 of Dallas' first-quarter points. The Mavs led 47-41 at halftime. It was nearly more as Marquis Daniels stole a pass and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was released a fraction of a second too late.

    Game notes

    Phoenix overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Lakers in the first round. ... Nowitzki's rebounds were a season high and a franchise record in a playoff game. ... Before the series, Mavs owner Mark Cuban invited Finley's family to watch the series in his family's luxury suite. "I like Mike," said Cuban, adding that he'd consider re-signing Finley when he becomes a free agent after the 2007-08 season. "But, you know, entertainment is part of the game. Booing him doesn't make him a bad guy."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 86
    FGM-FGA 29-67 (.433) 32-83 (.386)
    3PM-3PA 4-10 (.400) 5-14 (.357)
    FTM-FTA 29-34 (.853) 17-20 (.850)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-39 12-42
    Assists 11 15
    Turnovers 17 15
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 7 8
    Fast Break Points 7 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 29 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 9

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Manu Ginobili Ginobili
    Points: 30
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 26
    Reb: 21
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0